Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series. Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days. We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
The losses of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie to the NBA Draft was a significant blow for Mark Fox and the Georgia Bulldogs. Had both players returned, UGA would have been a likely Top 25 team. Instead, the Dawgs face a re-loading process.
Last Season: T-4th, 9-7 in SEC, 21-12 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: John Florveus (Jr)/Tim Dixon (Fr)/John Cannon (Fr)
F: Marcus Thornton (So)/Donte Williams (So)/Nemanja Djurisic (Fr)
G/F: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Fr)/Connor Nolte (Sr)
SG: Dustin Ware (Sr)/Sherrard Brantley (Jr)
PG: Gerald Robinson (Sr)/Vincent Williams (Jr)
Gone: PF-Trey Thompkins, SG-Travis Leslie, F/C-Jeremy Price, F/C-Chris Barnes
Fox will rely heavily on his senior backcourt this season. Gerald Robinson is back to run the show and probably assume the role of go-to scorer. He will be joined in the backcourt by sharpshooter Dustin Ware who hit 43.5% of his triple tries last season. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a McDonald’s All-American and figures to replace Leslie at the three.
There is also experience off the bench at guard. Vincent Williams saw his playing time dip last year due to the arrival of Robinson but played decent minutes as a freshman. Sherrard Brantley was the first guard off the bench last season and should assume that role once again.
The frontcourt is the big question mark for Georgia as they have to replace their top three post players from a year ago; Thompkins, Jeremy Price, and Chris Barnes. Sophomore forward Marcus Thornton will be asked to play a much bigger role this season even though he is not a true post player. The former Georgia Mr. Basketball had a lackluster freshman campaign but could be bound for a breakout year. Donte Williams is the only other returnee but played sparingly as a freshman.
Seven-foot JUCO transfer John Florveus is a wirey big man who will try to provide the Dawgs with an defensive presence. He is not the most skill post player and will struggle against more physical bigs, but has to step in right away and fill the void in the middle. Freshman Tim Dixon is a similar type of center who needs to get stronger as well. Nemanja Djurisic has a nice inside/outside game and will try to work himself into the rotation.
If Georgia is going to reach the success they had last season, the guards will have to carry them. The frontcourt is young, inexperienced, and lacks the bangers down low that they had a year ago. Another trip to the NCAA Tournament isn’t completely out of the picture, but it certainly is a longshot.
Player to Watch: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
KC-P (do people call him that because that is much easier to write than Caldwell-Pope every time?) is a gifted shooter and all-around scorer. He is also more than capable of handling the rock and using his creativity to score around the hoop. KC-P could very well be the x-factor this season for the Bulldogs. If he can make a major splash during his freshman campaign, UGA could compete for another tourney berth.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 vs. California (CBE Classic)
11/22 vs. Notre Dame/Missouri (CBE Classic)
12/2 vs. Cincinnati (SEC/Big East Challenge)
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs
#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.